Cannabis concentrates are now unquestionably legal in Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled.
In a 7-0 ruling, the court stated that marijuana extracts fall under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), just like the plant itself.
State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones
The Arizona Supreme Court case which resulted in the ruling was the State of Arizona v. Rodney Christopher Jones.
In 2016, Jones was convicted of possession of a jar of 0.005 ounces (1.4 grams) of hashish – despite the fact that he was a registered medical marijuana patient. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
This was possible due to a legal loophole whose proponents argued that the wording of the AMMA did not explicitly protect patients in possession of cannabis extracts rather than the raw plant itself.
The Director’s Opinion
When consulted for the Jones case, Will Humble, the former Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services – one of those who helped create the AMMA – specifically stated that he had intended cannabis resin and other extracts to be included in it.
Rodney Jones still served his time in prison despite the ruling. But his lawyer stated that he “couldn’t be more thrilled” about the verdict.
What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are marijuana extracts. They are concentrated versions of the beneficial compounds found in the cannabis plant.
A good example is the CBD oil which the FDA approved for use by patients of two specific types of epilepsy which are resistant to standard treatments.
These conditions – Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome – are found particularly in children. The parents of affected children were one of the groups who expressed an opinion on the case, pointing out that children as young as 5 years old could not be expected to smoke cannabis to gain the medical benefits that extracts provided.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Arizona?
Yes. Medical cannabis has been legal in Arizona since the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
This latest ruling in the Jones case means that the discrepancy that cannabis extracts – which have much higher concentrations of the beneficial compounds found in the cannabis plant – are potentially illegal. Whereas, the raw plant itself – which might contain all kinds of contaminants as well as an unknown quantity of the beneficial compounds – is legal.
This common sense ruling means that cannabis extracts such CBD oil and THC oil are now safe legal territory for patients and parents with a valid Arizona medical marijuana card.